(full name: Ensenada De Todos Santos), or Port of
Ensenada for its port, is the third-largest city in the
state of Baja California. It is located 116 km
(about 70 miles) south of San Diego, at 31°47′N 116°36′W
/ 31.783°N 116.6°W / 31.783; -116.6. The city had a
2005 census population of 460,075. Ensenada is also the
municipal seat of Ensenada Municipality, one of the five
into which the state is divided. Ensenada is locally
referred as La Bella Cenicienta del Pacífico (The
Beautiful Cinderella of the Pacific).
Located in the Bahía de Todos Santos — an inlet of the
Pacific Ocean — Ensenada is an important commercial and
fishing port as well as a cruise ship stop. There is
also a navy base, an army base and a military airfield,
which functions as an airport of entry into Mexico.
The city is backed by small mountain ranges. Due to its
location on the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean
latitude, the weather tends to be mild year-round.
Although the winter rain season is short, Ensenada sits in the heart
of a wine country that is widely regarded as the best in
Mexico. It is said that the first "vitis vinifera" made it
to the peninsula (specifically to the San Ignacio
Mission) in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte
planted the first vineyards there.
Baja California has been known for sport fishing over
fifty years. Each year hundreds of anglers head for
Ensenada to go fishing and take advantage of the shorter
distances needed to travel by sea to get to the big
catch. The short range day trips are good for cranking
in Bass, Bonita, Barracuda, Cod and Yellowtail, while
the long range trips pull in Tuna, Albacore, Dorado.
via a four lane toll road MX-1D and a two lane free
road, which makes it a natural destination for tourists
on short vacations by car. Ensenada's proximity to
California also makes it a destination for short cruise
ship trips from the Los Angeles area. There are four
ships that make weekly trips to Ensenada as of 2005.
A few minutes south of town on highway 1 is the
second-largest of three known major marine geysers in
the world. This one is known as "La Bufadora" ("The
Ensenada area has several celebrated surfing spots, such
as San Miguel Beach, California Trailer Park, Stacks and
3 M's (Tres Emes in Spanish), which are located in the
north coast of the city. Todos Santos Island (better
known as 'Todos') is a small island located west of
Ensenada (about 2 hours by boat), and a world famous
surfing spot. The Billabong XXL surfing contest has been
held at Todos Santos Island several times. Wave faces
can reach above 60 feet on the island. Brad Gerlach,
2006 winner of Big XXL, surfed a wave of 68 feet in
Further south in the municipality are spots famous for
their excellent windsurfing.
The Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, billed
as the world's largest international sailing event,
finishes in Ensenada.
The world-renowned Baja 1000 off-road race is held in
Ensenada every year in late November, while the Baja 500
race is held in early June. Off-road enthusiasts use
Ensenada year-round as a starting point to explore Baja
The gray whale's annual migration from Alaska to the
lagoons of Baja California Sur between the months of
December and March, and back in the months of April and
May, can be seen from the coast of Ensenada. Sightseeing
tours are available every day during migration season.
The nearby town of Guadalupe, was founded by immigrant
Russian Molokans in the late nineteenth century. Most of
the Molokan community re-migrated towards California's
Central Valley in the mid-twentieth century, and a
Russian Museum commemorating their legacy in the region
has been established. The traditional economic
activities in Guadalupe are olive and wine production.
Currently, about 90%of wine production in Mexico
originates in the valleys of Guadalupe and adjacent
Calafia. Many local wine producers offer tours and
Every year during the month of August, the beginning of
wine harvest season is celebrated in the Guadalupe
Valley and in the city of Ensenada with a two week long
series of cultural and culinary events, all under the
title banner of Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest
Festival). This event attracts people from all over the
The Ensenada Carnaval is one of the country's largest,
as thousands of people gather in the streets for six
days and nights.
The Sierra San Pedro Mártir mountain range and National
Park is located within the municipality of Ensenada,
about 240 km SE of the city of Ensenada.
There is a street in Ensenada called "la primera"
(meaning the first in English). It's a classic tourism
spot in Ensenada due to its many "Curios, Curiosidades"
(trinquet and souvenir stores), restaurants, hotels,
bars and popular clubs such as the Hussong's Cantina and
Papas & Beer. There are plenty of things to buy and see
as well as many places to go. La Primera is a very busy
street, filled with tourists and locals. It is normal to
go through a lot of traffic, especially at nighttime. La
Primera is just one block away from Ventana al Mar
(Window upon sea), a boardwalk/seawall avenue where an
enormous Mexican flag is located.
La bufadora or the blowhole, its the second biggest
marine geyser in the world. It is located at the end of
a long strip of shopping and markets.
growing region of Baja California lies within the
valleys of San Vicente, Santo Tomás and Guadalupe, all
located in the municipality of Ensenada. Today more than
90% of Mexico's table wines are produced here, one of
the most famous being Bodegas de Santo Tomas, founded in
Much of the Baja California peninsula has a semi-desert
climate, but Ensenada's region has a cold marine current
which helps to produce a Mediterranean climate which is
ideal for growing wine grapes. With its warm summers and
mild winters, not to mention sunny days and cool nights
during the growing season, these valleys produce fine
Mexican wines with a style of their own.
The wine makers of the Ensenada region produce a
complete range of types and styles of wines. Mexican
wines from this area have obtained international
recognition, and are being exported to Europe, the
United States and Canada in ever increasing quantities.
Most wineries offer tours and wine tasting.
ENSENADA VINTAGE FESTIVAL
Each August, the wine growers of Ensenada and the Baja
California Wine Society celebrate the harvest with a
series of events highlighting the culture of wine. The
festival is usually held during the first few weeks in
The Vintage Festival (known locally as the Fiestas de la
Vendimia) lasts for ten days and is open to the public.
Many events are scheduled at participating wineries and
in town, such as a wine competition, wine tasting, the
Paella Contest, music & dance, golf tournaments, and
In Popular Culture
• Ween, a
popular U.S rock band references Ensenada in their song
Bananas and Blow from 2001's White Pepper. The line
goes, "I went to see my mom in Ensenada/And I left a
little something to help the time go by/ Just a little
something to help to keep you high"
• In the
animated TV series South Park, on an episode of the
fourth Season (Probably), Kenny seems to be lost in
Ensenada and calls to his friends from a pay phone next
to the club Papas & Beer. Thinking he is in hell, when
the boys ask him to tell them what hell is like he
answers: (Um...) mariachi music is heard, and the street
is lively enough.
• One of
the Fender manufacturing plants is located in Ensenada.
Zevon references the city in his song Carmelita: "And
I'm there with her in Ensenada, And I'm here in Echo
• On the
4th seasons's second episode (The Gringos) of the
popular teen drama The O.C., Seth and Ryan go to
Ensenada to find Volchok, who had caused the death of
• There are
strong rumors within Ensenada's inhabitants that
Alphonse Gabriel Capone owned the locally famous Riviera
Pacifico Casino and Hotel, which now serves as
convention and cultural center.
Ensenada's oral history also says that Leon Trotsky
lived there for several months in the early 1930s, as a
waiting point after applying for a passport to the
United States, which was denied. Consequently, Trotsky
moved to Mexico City.
• The city
is also the setting of a song by Neil Diamond titled "In
Ensenada". The song can be found on the album Heartlight.
Lovett titled his 1996 album The Road to Ensenada as a
reference to the spectacular 100 km coastal toll-road
between Tijuana and Ensenada.
• In an
extended live rendition of "The End" by The Doors
(released in the album In Concert in 1991), Jim Morrison
name-checks Ensenada. Due to the proximity to Los
Angeles and the fact that he could be virtually
unnoticed in Ensenada, it is said that Morrison visited
Hollywood - based British actor Nigel Bruce, best
remembered for his portrayal of Doctor Watson opposite
Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes, was born in Ensenada
in 1895 while his parents were on holiday in the city.
• In one
episode of The Oblongs when Pickles tries to break into
a factory she says, "If we get caught, meet at the
yellow rose in Ensenada."
• The city
was referenced in the song "Detonation Boulevard" by The
Sisters of Mercy: "I caught something weird in
Ensenada." The song appears on the 1990 album Vision
• In one
episode of Veronica Mars, there is a reference to a shot
glass Logan Echolls bought for his deceased girlfriend,
which read "I got baked in Ensenada."
research headquarters, the Marine Sciences Department of
the UABC and the thriving CICESE scientific institute in
town, Ensenada boasts the highest concentration of
scientists and science students in all of Latin America,
chiefly in the fields of astronomy, physics, biology,
geology and oceanography. Fittingly, Ensenada has been
coined The City Of Science.
following higher education institutions are based in
• Ensenada campus of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja
• Universidad Xochicalco
• Instituto Tecnológico de Ensenada (ITE)
• Universidad Del Noroccidente de Latinoamerica (UNDL)
• Ensenada campus of the Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y
• Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación
Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)
• Tecnológico de Baja California (TBC)
• Instituto de Astronomía sede Ensenada (IA-UNAM).
• Centro de Ciencias de la Materia Condensada de la
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (CCMC-UNAM).